Last Passenger DC-10 Makes Last Flight?
Bangladesh Biman Airlines announced it would on Dec. 7 pull from service what it believes is the last McDonnell Douglas DC-10 to still carry passengers as part of routine commercial service, but enthusiasts may still get one more chance to fly in it. The big jet is still in operation with cargo carriers (FedEx included) but fans interested in flying on a passenger version of the airplane will get a chance to fly with Biman in February 2014. The airline says it plans to make seats available on the jet for a final flight from Bangladesh to England. And as Biman CEO Kevin Steele told CNN, “We want these tickets to go to genuine aviation enthusiasts.” According to Steele, if interest encourages it, some scenic flights may then be flown from Birmingham, England, to answer additional demand.
The aircraft entered service in 1971, flying passengers between Los Angeles and Chicago. The FAA once grounded the entire fleet of DC-10s for more than 30 days following a crash in which the number-one engine separated from the airframe during its takeoff run at Chicago O’Hare. After literally losing the engine the jet rolled left through 112 degrees and impacted the ground, killing all 271 people aboard. A famous photograph of the incident shows the aircraft rolling past wings-vertical while flying at very low altitude over the airport. The NTSB found that the engine broke free from the aircraft’s wing due to a maintenance error, leading to multiple hydraulic control issues, but the very high-profile crash is suspected to have dampened public enthusiasm for the jet. McDonnell Douglas produced its last DC-10 in 1989 after a run of nearly 450 examples.